General Hospital, Fort Scott, March 27th, 1865.
My Dear Wife:
I received your kind and consoling letter of the 16th inst on the 25th inst. I had about that time written to you. I have written once a week since I have been here. My health, I believe, has improved a little since my last. Yet I am far from being well. The pains in my leg are sometimes severe. I am taking medicine every day. I do not know as it is doing me any good, but perhaps it does. Since your last my mind has been more at ease; for I was some afraid the money was lost that I sent you. I was afraid all our hard luck was coming at once. But now that you have received the money, time passes as agreeably away as one could expect. I have had no certain news of my stolen colt yet. Neither do I expect to ever see her again. But do not suppose that it troubles me, for it does not. It is seldom I think of it. Perhaps I may send home a gun by express. It is a fine gun...
Our board in the hospital is poor enough. For breakfast we have poor beef, good baker's bread, and something they call coffee. For dinner, beef, Do, Do, Do, and water. Sometimes pickles. For supper, poor black tea, bread, and very poor molasses. Sometimes we have dried apples stewed, but never sweetened. The Govt. furnishes and abundance of coffee and sugar -- more than the soldiers can make use of; but it is stolen here by somebody. Sometimes we buy a little butter. It costs 65cts a lb and is very poor at that. Some of the boys have bought a few eggs at 50cts per doz. Fort Scott has been justly called the Sodom of Kansas, and the righteous, perhaps, are nearly as scarce among its residents as they were in that ancient place of the same name.
According to best authenticated accounts, the Rebels are retreating before Sherman, and have been for a long time. He, Sherman, has been able to feed his army in passing through S.C. without taking supplies with him. The soil of S.C. is of a sandy nature and, therefore, the rains have no bad effect on the roads. Not so in N.C. The soil is clay, and his movement will consequently be slow. Furthermore, I presume he will have to bring his supplies from the sea coast, as I think the Rebs have taken most of the supplies in N.C. to support their own army. Taking these things into consideration, we must not suppose his movements will be as fast through N.C as they were through S.C. I think it will take him longer to get to Richmond than many suppose, even if he meets no serious opposition. The Rebel army at Richmond now have to depend on Virginia and N.C. alone for their supplies if the yankee traders in the sea port towns do not supply them by carrying on a contraband trade with them. I consider Gen. Sherman head and shoulders above all others in knowledge in the army; and he says the Rebel army can get supplies easier now than they could before the sea port towns fell into our hands, and with less danger than by blockade running. The Reb Gen. Forrest and his army in Tenn. were in a state of starvation; but as soon as Memphis, Tenn. was opened to yankee trade, they god supplies in abundance. Sherman mentions this, and says if such things are tolerated the war has not yet begun. It seems strange that such things are allowed, yet it is lamentable fact that they do exist. The great difficulty is, Mr. Lincoln has not firmness enough to say no to his friends bug gives them license to carry on a lawful trade. Many of these men are destitute of all good principles and would sell their country's welfare for a mess of pottage. They go into a contraband trade which consists in giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the U.S. -- all for the sake of gain... I consider them worse than the vilest Rebels are. The trade is, in part, carried on by the officers of our own army. For their deeds they must be judged by the all-wise and merciful God. I do verily believe that the Govt and people of the U.S. have the power to end the war -- and that honorably -- in less than two months. But I have not the remotest idea they will do so. The Bible says the nation that will not obey God shall perish. Sin seems abundant in the nation yet.
Like you, I really wish I could come home this spring; it would be such a pleasure to me. I am tired of the service -- more so now than ever before.
I have made up my mind to quit trying to speculate, or buy and sell and get gain in Kansas. When I have money I will send it to you and let you do the trading -- that is, if you have any to spare. I hope you will be able to get the place of Mr. Smith till I come home to stay. I think I may be able to furnish you the money to buy a few yearlings or calves in the fall, if you can keep them. If I should live to get out of the service, I think stock raising will be my principal business. I have been in a little over a year on my 2nd enlistment. I hope I shall get out before my time is out, as it seems to me a long time, and I fear that I should be pretty well used up by that time if I was exposed much to the hardships consequent upon camp life. I do not think the war will last two years, but time alone can determine.
Please write often as usual, and as much oftener as you will.
May Heaven bless and protect you in well doing, till I see you, is my prayer. Remember me ever as your loving Husband
C. N. Mumford